It is first against fourth on the latter's home turf. Fremantle have won nine of their last 11 matches, Hawthorn nine of their last 10. The first placed attacking team against the second placed defensive team.
On closer inspection, though, there is a gap the size of the Nullarbor between the Hawks and the Dockers at present. That gap has more to do with Fremantle's weaknesses than Hawthorn's strengths.
The most telling stat going into this game is that Hawthorn have beaten Freo in nine of their last 10 encounters. The last time the Dockers saluted was in the Elimination Final of 2010. In the last five years Hawthorn have beaten them by an average of close to seven goals.
Basically, Freo's stingy defence just can't keep Hawthorn in check and once the Hawks get off the chain they can't score enough to go with them.
Even more worrying for the Dockers is that they are in far poorer form now than the last few times they've faced the Hawks. When they played in Round 3 they had won their first two games. Coming into last year's decider they had won seven of their last eight including two stirring finals victories.
Despite wining nine of their last 11 this year, the two losses have come in their last three games. The only win in that time was a last gasp effort at home to Carlton and one of the losses was a thrashing at the hands of the bottom team, St. Kilda.
Some say that the last quarter comeback that almost sank Geelong last week was a turning point in form. In reality, the Cats totally controlled the game for three quarters and Freo should never have been in a position to win.
Like a lot of teams that struggle for good form, too much is being left for too few at Fremantle. If not for their midfield stars, Nathan Fyfe and Michael Barlow, they would be dealing with three consecutive losses by much bigger margins.
Fyfe and Barlow are being relied upon for not only finding the ball, but also kicking goals for their team. The three men who are arguably Freo's top three forwards, Matthew Pavlich, Chris Mayne and Hayden Ballantyne, have kicked seven goals between them in the last three weeks. Fyfe and Barlow, by comparison, have kicked 10.
It's great to have your best midfielders among the goalkickers, but when you rely on them to kick a winning score you're in strife.
Another worrying sign for Fremantle leading into this match is their record against the top sides this year. Out of their six matches against the other teams currently in the top six, they have won just one. Last time they played Hawthorn they were down by 10 goals at half time and never bridged the gap.
This week's home ground advantage needs to be used to its full extent. While Freo have never beaten the Hawks during Ross Lyon's coaching tenure, nor have they played them at Subiaco. It's not an ideal time for Hawthorn to travel west, either. They are bringing back two of their stars, Brian Lake and Jack Gunston, after a few weeks on the sidelines and under normal circumstances the Hawks hierarchy would probably prefer to leave them at home for an extra weeks rest.
That may be the only thing working in Freo's favour, though. For them this game is almost do or die. A Top Four spot is far from assured at this point and if they drop this one it gives them all the more work to do.